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1000 Books Before Kindergarten

1000 Books Before Kindergarten is a self-directed program that encourages reading from an early age. Did you know that reading to your child is the best way to prepare them to read on their own? With this program, we provide you with a booklet to track the number of books you are reading to your child, and they earn prizes along the way.


We offer storytimes for ages 0-6, including an all-ages family storytime. If you’re a kid, they’re fun and entertaining. If you’re a parent or caregiver, you come away with new songs and books to have fun with later. Everybody wins! See our storytime schedule on our calendar.

Parenting Collection

Browse our collection of books targeted specifically at parents. Topics include teaching materials, child development, picture books dealing with difficult topics, and more.

Theme Bags

The Youth Services Department assembles theme bags, which are backpacks filled with books, music, and activities to support many themes. These kits are designed for use with kids age 2-5 . Each bag checks out for three weeks. View our theme bag topics here.

Museum Adventure Pass

Did you know you can use your library card to check out free passes to area museums and organizations like the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Botanic Garden, Legoland, and more? Visit Museum Adventure Pass to see the list of participating organizations and what each pass offers.

  • To check out a pass, you must visit the Youth desk in person. You can call us at (847)223-5313 to see if there is currently a pass available for your preferred museum.
  • We can offer only one pass per household at a time.
  • Passes are good for one week from the checkout date.
  • We can only offer passes to Grayslake cardholders. If you have a library card from a different library, please check to see if your library participates in the program.

We believe that getting ready to read starts early and often! We are here to help you find opportunities to read, sing, and play with your children, whether they’re in swaddled in a blanket or learning to write their own name.

Beginning Readers

Our Youth Services Department has created a unique book leveling system to best meet the needs of beginning readers. You will find many easy readers with labels on their covers proclaiming them to be Level One or Level Two, but what does that really mean? These levels vary from publisher to publisher, and many supposed “Easy Readers” are not easy at all.

We have come up with four levels of early reading and leveled all of the books in our Easy Reader collection according to those standards. If a book is marketed as an easy reader but does not meet any of the standards, it is instead housed with our picture books or chapter books.

Using a color-coded system, each book is leveled as “Just Getting Started,” “On My Way,” “Reading Alone,” or “First Chapter Books.” The level is indicated by a colored dot on the spine of each book. You can then determine which level your child is at and find the appropriate books.

There is another element of our Easy Reader collection that sets us apart. We wanted to make reading as approachable as possible for those just beginning to read and recognized the need to have more books at the emergent level on our shelves. Emergent readers need strong picture support, high-interest topics, limited print on the page and a good story. We contacted independent vendors who publish leveled reading material used in the schools. These books are only available in paperback, but we have them specially bound so they look and feel like a “real book.” Not only does this help the books hold up through a great amount of use, but it also heightens the sense of achievement for the child. You will find many of these books with a blue dot on the spine.

If your child is reading from our “First Chapter Books” level and feels ready to move on, we have taken care of that, too. We keep a cart stocked with books that will make the transition from Easy Readers to J Fiction much easier.